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SHARING SECRETS: What Is Luscious?

Edited by Cathy Tylka, for Let’s Talk Plants! July 2024.

Question for this month…
… What is luscious? Is it a fruit, is it a vegetable? Is it a look, is it something edible in your garden? Or do you desire it anyway? Why do you think it is luscious; and, why do you have it or desire it?

Richard Oliver of 92029, replies…

… We love our Bear’s Breeches “Whitewater” variegated Acanthus perennial. Visual wonderment to all who see it in our garden. 


We also love our many Bilbergia Bromeliads (Queen's Tears) for their brilliant colors.



Gerald D. Stewart of 92084 shares…

… As a plant maniac with a focus on pelargoniums (aka geraniums) and colorfully foliaged plants, luscious is usually an incredibly variegated plant. Polygonum virginianum 'Painter's Palette,' Variegated Fleece flower, has an incredible variegation that always stops me cold. The summer warmth spurs the collection of variegated Hibiscus to a level of lushness that is incredible, so they are luscious. The coleus collection (currently 140 cultivars, with more on the way) defines lusciousness. Some of the Begonia collection reaches the same level. Cascading Colors hanging baskets (Tradescantia zebrina and flumeninsis are a couple of the species that I've given that common name to), some variegated succulents, the two variegated Wisteria cultivars, and on and on. The acre and greenhouses are now focused on my hobby in retirement, so I am surrounded by the result of years collecting rare and unusual plants that make my heart sing, often surrounded by luscious views for my eyes.


Barbara Roberson from Ramona claims…

… My Cliff Swallows! They make my time outdoors/gardening so delicious because of their flights and their physical presence makes everything more luscious. Every year I rejoice when they return and cry when they leave.

A point of interest may be that I've been keeping detailed records of "my" Cliff Swallows since they showed up at my house starting in March 2008. From 2008 through July 2022, they arrived at various times between February 13th and March 20th, due to changes in our weather, AND they never left before July 5th. Ever. UNTIL 2023! Last year they left on June 10th. A whole month early! Very concerning. This year, 2024, they left on Sunday, June 9th. Again, a whole month early.


Their exit is a very distinct series of events that takes about 2 to 2.5 hours. Then they fly away en masse. It's an amazing show.


But I'm very troubled about what's causing this early exit in ‘23 and ‘24.


Our gardening successes are impacted by seasons and migrations of various birds and insects. If something significantly larger than us is at play, it warrants our attention.


Cathy Tylka of 92026 replied…

… My garden in general is luscious, including those two little grandchildren in the pictures, Kyle and Kora!

My pink dry country roses are going off, fabulously. It is bushy and needs pruning at least once a month and requires very little water. And, no I do not know the name, but when I purchased it, many years ago, the tag said it could appreciate poor soil and low watering, and it really is a rose. I think it’s called Parson’s Pink Rose, but don’t hold me to it!


And my lovely Epiphyllum is going crazy this evening! I also have a shocking pink and light pink one. These cacti are so easy to grow in pots. They like some shade and little watering! Also, dividing is easy at the meeting of leaf to leaf.


It's no secret that Karen England of 92084 finds herbs to be “luscious”.

… Based on the definition of luscious, as “having a pleasingly rich, sweet taste,” the word defines most herbs.

This watering can "bouquet" of herbs from Karen's garden was used at the SD County Fair last month as "show and smell" (Karen tore it apart to let everyone in attendance see and smell the different herbs) at one of Karen's herb presentations in the Garden Show. All ten of Karen's luscious herbal favorites are represented in this "arrangement" plus a few more! (Karen is not known as a floral designer as this picture shows, but her lack of skills makes it easier to rip the bouquets apart during her talks. Apologies to the real designers out there.)

Here’s Karen’s top ten list of luscious herbs growing in her garden that she uses on an almost daily basis -

1. Lavender 2. Rosemary 3. Cleveland Sage 4. Rose 5. Bay 6. Fennel 7. Aloe 8. Calendula 9. Scented Geranium 10. Mint


Sharing Secrets Question for next month…
What are you planting, cutting, eating, and enjoying from your garden? And why? (If not from your garden, then from someone else’s!)
Is it the best ever, new to you or to be enchanted by?



Jim Booman showing off his new SD Hort hat he won by answering sharing secrets questions. Answer the monthly questions and you might win too!
Remember, all who answer the Sharing Secrets questions get their name thrown into a hopper to win a SD Hort logo hat every quarter!

Just like Jim Booman, the most recent winner!


Cathy Tylka, RN, retired Emergency Nurse, found her love of plants and the SDHS merge many years ago. Cathy acted as Treasurer for the organization and volunteers for many activities. Now, she is more than happy to assist in gathering questions to ask you in the Sharing Secrets area of the Newsletter.



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